Flyers survive late scare to beat Colorado, 5-3

Travis Konecny

      PHILADELPHIA – The first 57 minutes pretty much went the way Flyers coach John Tortorella wants his team to play.

      Sticking to structured play, the Flyers crafted a 4-1 lead on Monday night. They had scored twice on the power play and held the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche to a single man-advantage goal of their own.

      But then came the last two minutes or so and things got a little scary.

      The Avs scored twice in less than a minute and the Flyers needed an empty-net goal from Travis Konecny to finally secure a 5-3 win at the Wells Fargo Center.

      One big key to the Flyers’ success was killing off penalties. Colorado’s power play is ranked No. 1 in the NHL, coming into the game at a stellar 32.5 percent success rate.

      The Avs managed just one goal on five attempts. A lot of that had to do with some timely goaltending from Carter Hart.

      And the Flyers’ power play wasn’t too bad either, scoring two manpower edge goals for the first time this season.

      Tortorella acknowledged Hart’s play was a big factor in the victory and some disciplined play – until those final couple minutes – also figured a lot in the outcome.

      But the coach clearly wasn’t pleased with the finish.

      “We played in spurts I thought,’’ coach John Tortorella said. “It got away from us a little bit at the end of the game. But we find a way to win. Almost got away from us at the end – bent, didn’t break. Had some really good minutes, had some struggles.

      “There were a couple plays at the end that were just bad plays. We never felt comfortable with the lead.’’

      Tony DeAngelo suggested the Flyers really weren’t rattled by Colorado’s late burst.

      “I wouldn’t say we almost gave it away,’’ he said. “That’s another goal they got to get and goals are tough to come by. You never want to give up two late anytime to make it close but fortunately we had a three-goal lead.’’

      On the plus side, suddenly, the Flyers’ power play looks competent again.

.     “Just try to keep it simple,’’ Tortorella said. “Shots through traffic, that’s how we found our way earlier in the year, as far as wins, it was the power play helping us.’’

      For only the third time this season, the Flyers held a lead after the first period.

      The 2-1 edge was provided by goals from Travis Sanheim and Tanner Laczynski. Those overcame an early 1-0 Avalanche lead.

      A goal from Alex Newhook gave Colorado a 1-0 advantage. Newhook’s long shot made its way through several bodies and eluded  Hart.

      The Flyers bounced back on Sanheim’s goal. Scott Laughton spotted Sanheim edging in from the blue line. The defenseman sent a long shot past goalie Alexander Georgiev at 7:29.

      Then Laczynski broke the tie. Georgiev stopped Joel Farabee’s shot from the left faceoff dot but left a fat rebound, which Laczynski cleaned up.

      Farabee said he actually aimed the shot hoping for that favorable carom.

      “I knew my angle probably wasn’t there to snipe it, so I had Laz [ Laczynski] going to back door,’’ Farabee said. A lot of credit to him for pumping his legs and getting there. “So I just put it to a spot where he could get it.”

      DeAngelo made it 3-1 Flyers at 3:59 of the second period. With Philadelphia on a power play, DeAngelo (who had a well-publicized physical altercation with Georgiev when the two played together for the New York Rangers) sent a long shot into the net for a two-goal cushion.

      The Flyers have been stuck in last place on the power play so this was a welcome development.

      “I think it’s confidence and getting used to each other,” DeAngelo said. “We’ve had the same power-play unit for (only) about 10 games (out of 26). Once you get together, get moving. . .guys just starting to feel it, finding lanes. We did a good job.”

      Konecny added the Flyers’ second power-play goal in the third period.

      The Avs came roaring back at the finish, getting goals from Mikko Rantanen and Newhook before the Flyers got the insurance goal from Konecny.

      Once again, Hart had to come up big as the Avs swarmed in the Flyers’ zone with the extra attacker.

      “They got a few at the end and we weathered the storm,’’ Hart said. “We did a great job after they got that power-play goal early. Great job on our PK the rest of the night.’’

      >Sanheim heating up

      Sanheim extended his point streak to four games and said he’s feeling more confident on the offensive side of his game.

      “I got pretty fortunate tonight that they allowed me to walk in like that,’’ he said. As for his confidence, he added, “Just my overall play with the puck, even little plays down low that I’m able to make right now and the way I’m seeing the ice. I think I’m seeing the ice and I’m getting rewarded for it.’’

     >Numbers game

      Colorado’s first goal marked the 20th time the Flyers have allowed an opponent to get on the scoreboard before they have. Their record now is 7-10-3 in those games.

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About Wayne Fish 2409 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.